July 8, 2019 — SMUD and nearly two dozen homebuilders have teamed up to build more than 1,000 all-electric homes over the next two years in several neighborhoods in the community-owned electric utility’s Sacramento County service territory.
The homes are included in the SMUD Smart Home program and are part of a broader electrification effort by SMUD, the first of its kind in the USA. The innovative program designed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions kicked off last fall. Another thousand homes are projected to be contracted for by the end of 2019. The program has enrolled a range of builders—from small local infill, to some of the largest national production builders.
When Santa Monica-based Watt Communities, one of the premier homebuilders in the west, committed to participate in the SMUD All-Electric Smart Home program, the agreements pushed the program past the 1,000-home-commitment milestone.
Watt Communities’ has planned two all-electric developments located in north Natomas. The 57-home “Mystique” community and the 257-home “Artisan Square” community will also include solar roof panels. Mystique is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, while Artisan Square is expected to be ready by the end of 2021.
SMUD provides considerable incentives to builders for including appliances and equipment to make the homes all-electric. These include heat pump heating and cooling, heat pump water heating, and induction stoves—appliances that are more energy efficient and can deliver lower overall energy bills.
SMUD is providing Watt Communities $5,000 per home in incentives. The energy performance of these efficient homes stands at an average of 14 percent better than what is required under the current California energy code. The project will also implement magnetic-induction cooking technology, providing a safer, efficient and more convenient alternative to gas and electric resistance cooktops. “Watt Communities is proud to partner with SMUD to offer our homebuyers the benefits of unique energy-efficient features that will result in yearly savings,” said Mike Von Quilich, vice president of Operations for Watt Communities.
High-performance SMUD Smart Homes are more energy efficient and deliver lower overall energy bills when compared to conventional homes. For example, heat pump water heaters reduce utility bills by approximately $40 per year compared to gas tankless water heaters. Instead of using gas to create heat, heat pump water heaters use a refrigerant cycle to transfer heat from surrounding ambient air into the hot water tank. They also cool the area where they are located, usually in the garage. Induction stoves cook twice as fast as gas stoves. They also use less energy than traditional gas stoves and offer precise, digital control of the temperature, plus they have no open flame. The absence of combustion in all-electric homes results in greater occupant safety and improved indoor air quality.
Bottom line: customers with all-electric homes in SMUD’s service area are well positioned for a renewable energy economy and can typically save $400 compared to homes that rely on gas for space heating and hot water. Each customer’s savings will depend on the specifics of the home and how they operate their home.
These homes will help community-owned SMUD meet its aggressive commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 and surpass the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals of 80 percent by 2050.
The SMUD Smart Home program offers design assistance and financial incentives to builders and developers of up to $5,000 for new single-family homes, and up to $1,750 for new multifamily units, built to be all-electric.
SMUD customers who own existing homes in the SMUD service territory can also qualify for up to $13,750 for existing homes that convert from gas to electricity. There are also rebates available from SMUD for traditional efficiency measures such as duct sealing, insulation and windows.
SMUD Reaches 1,000 All-Electric Homes Milestone, by Smart Grid Observer Staff, Environmental XPRT, July 8, 2019.